Kaiserslautern senior Alana Dickerson will enter her final season of DODDS-Europe basketball with her post-prep future already set.
Dickerson, an All-Europe wing and captain of the defending Division I champion Raiders, has signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her career at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, an NCAA Division II program.
The Kaiserslautern Kingfish claimed a decisive team victory in a European Forces Swim League meet on Saturday at Ramstein Aquatic Center.
The host Kingfish scored 1,283 total points to pace a five-team field in the event. The Stuttgart Piranhas finished second with 787 points, while the Hohenfels Tigers scored 210, the Eifel Sharks collected 182 and Rota Swim Club produced 90. Here are the meet’s individual standouts:
The all-tournament teams from last weekend's Ankara Sports Association volleyball tournament.
Back row, from left: David Catchings (Incirlik) standing in for brother Jonathan; OASIS’s Nate Frye (OASIS), tournament MVP Tamer Long (Incirlik), Josh Land (OASIS), and Kaan Kandemir (BLIS). Not pictured: Mehmet Kunter Uz (BLIS) and Turan Kerimbay (Ankara).
Front row, from left: Jordan Blumberg (OASIS), Bahar Dumlu (BLIS), Ellie Thurston (BLIS), Kayleigh Gerlach (Incirlik), Carmen Colon (Incirlik), Grace Kim (OASIS), and tournament MVP Allyn Anderson (Incirlik).
More than 100 student-athletes from four schools visited Ankara, Turkey last weekend for the annual Ankara Sports Association volleyball tournament.
The ASA, coordinated by Ankara Elementary/High School, OASIS International School and the Pakistani Embassy International Study Group, has organized volleyball, basketball and soccer tournaments for the last seven years.
Incirlik, a regular invitee to ASA tournaments, took over this one with victories on both the boys and girls sides.
For the girls, the victorious Hodjas defeated second-place Bilkent Laboratory and International School 25-17, 23-25, 25-18 for the title. The Incirlik boys beat second-place OASIS 25-14, 25-19 en route to the championship.
ASA’s next planned event will be its basketball tournament, slated to host up to 20 teams in January or February of 2014.
Ankara and Incirlik play each other Oct. 19 ahead of both teams’ entry into the DODDS-Europe championships starting Oct. 31 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Sixteen boys and four girls will take to Wiesbaden’s Rheinblick Golf Course on Wednesday and Thursday to compete for the 2013 DODDS-Europe golf championship.
The tournament’s five foursomes will tee off from Rheinblick’s 10th hole Wednesday in 10-minute intervals starting at 10 a.m. The second and final round follows Thursday at 10 a.m. The competitors will play 18 holes each day under a modified Stableford scoring system, in which players are awarded points based on their performance on each hole. Rheinblick’s front nine holes are closed, Wiesbaden Athletic Director James Campbell said, so the competitors will play the back nine twice each day.
Ramstein's Alexis Vermeire running cross country in 2011 at Kaiserslautern.
Stars and Stripes
Former multiple-sport Ramstein standout Alexis Vermeire is running cross country for her home-state Oklahoma Sooners.
Vermeire, who starred at Guam High in the Pacific before transferring to Ramstein for her final two high school seasons, placed third at the European championship cross country race last October with a time of 20 minutes, 57 seconds. She also earned All-Europe soccer honors in the spring.
The Kaiserslautern Kingfish fell into midseason rhythm immediately upon the start of its season Saturday, posting a substantial team victory over four opponents from across Europe.
The Kingfish totaled 1130 points, well ahead of the 841 earned by the runner-up Wiesbaden Wahoos. The Aviano SeaDragons placed third with 349 points, followed by the Eifel Sharks at 172 and the Lakenheath Barracudas with 90.
Here is an interesting truth about high school and collegiate athletics: the programs that lose the most talent are often the best-equipped to replace it.
Take the example of Bitburg football, a nascent dynasty contending for its fifth straight Division II European championship and the active owner of DODDS-Europe’s longest-ever football winning streak.
The Barons graduated four of the six players they placed on the 2012 All-Europe team. The loss of four All-Europe performers would devastate the average team. But the average team doesn’t have six All-Europe players in the first place. Any program capable of churning out stars at that rate probably has more in the production process.
The 2013 edition of Bitburg football doesn’t have the same star power as in years past, when top-shelf running back CJ Evans ran behind the enormous Colton Engelmeier, who also anchored a muscular defense alongside bruising linebacker Bryce Randall and heat-seeking defensive back Evan Less.
The names are different, but through two blowout victories, the results are the same.
“So far we’re a pretty good team. I think we stack right up there with the bigger guys that we’ve had,” said Devin Billups, one of two returning All-Europe players along with fellow defensive standout Justin Martel. “Overall, I think we’re really good.”
Returning running backs Larry Jackson and Kenny Love have absorbed Evans’ carries with similar results. Love quickly diverts credit to the offensive line, which has continued to dominate even without the game-changing presence of Engelmeier.
“They make that initial contact and then keep driving the whole field,” Love said. “It just makes it so much better for us running backs.”
Lorenzo Graham, a sturdy 6-0, 205-pound two-way lineman, is a big part of that effort. The senior credits Bitburg’s intense practice and weightlifting sessions for the program’s continued excellence.
“We train as hard as we can. We condition a lot, we hit a lot,” Graham said. “We pick the intensity up all the time during practice, and that’s what wins the game.”
Rather than intimidating potential players, the deeply-ingrained winning culture in Bitburg instead quickly absorbs and deploys the talents of new arrivals, both experienced and otherwise.
Due to the frequency and unpredictability of personnel changes, Barons coach Mike Laue keeps his schemes straightforward, focusing primarily on the game’s universal fundamentals rather than wasting practice time on an unnecessarily complex playbook.
Quarterback James Cortez came to Bitburg this season from reigning two-time Far East Division I champion Yokota. The senior quickly slid in as the Barons’ starter, adeptly carrying out the team’s simple but unstoppable attack.
“I came from a championship team,” Cortez said. “So coming into Bitburg, another championship team, felt really nice.”
Running back/defensive back Ian Alexander has also found a niche on the team despite a total lack of a football résumé. The senior has been at the school since his sophomore year and is a cornerstone of the basketball team. Bitburg coaches suggested that playing football would have a positive effect on his hoops game.
He’s pleased with the early results, reporting “boosted confidence” from his contributions to the Barons.
“I actually turned out to be pretty OK at it,” Alexander said.
Isabelle Krause of Naples hits the ball past Ansbach's Caprice Lockett in the Division II title match at last year's DODDS-Europe volleyball championships in Ramstein.
Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes
Former Naples High School volleyball standout Isabel Krause is continuing her volleyball career at the United States Naval Academy.
Krause brings an impeccable prep resume with her to the NCAA level. Her two years with the Wildcats included two DODDS-Europe championships and two All-Europe first-team selections.
It’s that combination of championship experience and individual excellence that made Krause an ideal fit for the Midshipmen.
“"Obviously this is a freshman and sophomore-dominated group," head coach Larry Bock said on navysports.com, "but there clearly is a trend on the team toward players who know how to win and have experienced the trajectory of what it will take for our team to get to where we want to go."
Krause is the lone freshman among the group of four middle hitters on Navy’s 18-player roster. The Midshipmen opened their season Aug. 30.
Senior Khayree Files walks off the Schweinfurt football field Saturday at Schweinfurt, Germany. The game was the first and only of his high school football career; he'll transfer from Schweinfurt to Vilseck this week, where he'll prepare for basketball season.
Gregory Broome/Stars and Stripes
Senior Khayree Files pulled on his pads and helmet Saturday like the rest of his 20 or so teammates on the combined team comprised of players from Schweinfurt and Bamberg high schools. It was the first and last game of his high school football career.
As ominous as that sounds, it’s in fact a simple tale of a kid being a good team player and the sometimes strange circumstances of DODDS-Europe athletics.
Files started his tour of Bavarian high schools as a freshman at Bamberg. He was shifted to nearby Schweinfurt when it opened in 2011. This week, Files will move on to Vilseck, where he’ll enroll in his third high school in four years.
Meanwhile, both Bamberg and Schweinfurt are facing closure at the end of the school year. With shrinking enrollment and few newcomers, neither school would have had enough players to field DODDS-Europe football teams. So the schools, separated by about an hour, combined teams. Even then, they needed every available body in a uniform to put together a sufficient roster.
That’s where Files came in. Slender and lightning-quick, Files is an accomplished basketball point guard with no particular interest in adding football next to hoops and track and field on his athletic schedule. But the dire situation facing his school’s football team compelled Files to offer his services. He gamely suited up for the Razorbacks and lined up at wide receiver. And he acquitted himself well, even catching a contested ball and taking off on what might have been a dramatic touchdown but for an unfortunate blocking penalty flagged on the opposite side of the field.
And that appears to be the end of Files’ brief football career. Vilseck is a larger school and doesn’t need emergency reinforcements on the football field. Instead, Files already looking forward to winter, when he’ll join the Falcons for his first taste of Division I DODDS-Europe basketball.
Gregory Broome is an experienced and accomplished community sports journalist. Officially a native of Iowa, Broome grew up a Department of Defense dependent at sites all over the United States and Germany.
He finally settled in Florida, earning a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Central Florida.
Broome began his journalism career in in 2004 as a sports writer for the Ocala Star-Banner in Ocala, Fla., covering high school, college and community sports and earning recognition for his work from the Florida Press Club. In 2009 Broome was named the first sports information director at College of Central Florida, an NJCAA member school, where he launched the program's website and social media pages and revamped its promotional and game-day operations.
Broome joined Stars and Stripes in October of 2012.